The identity politics of Brexit

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


The argument for Brexit was accompanied by the fantasy that Britain could compensate for the loss of access to its largest market by joining the reassuringly white and English-speaking “Anglosphere” of Australia, Canada, the US and New Zealand. This is why they talk of an “Australian-style points system” and “Canada-style trade deals” and hope against all evidence that the protectionist Donald Trump will rescue Britain.

Brexit has shown that you have to be the right type of Anglo to be admitted to the Anglosphere, and Anglos in Europe need not apply. They are stereotyped as pensioners on the Costa del Sol, when 80% are of working age, transformed into citizens of nowhere, flitting between the banks of Frankfurt and Paris.

I will spare you the gags about the hypocrisy of rightwing movements, which emit gammony belches about the absurdities of identity politics while creating a nationalist identity politics of their own. The gags write themselves and, in any case, aren’t funny. Better to understand the connections between the minorities and the majority and realise that what happens to them could happen to you.

Migrants in Europe and Britain feel a sense of betrayal that ought to be familiar. They have lost a certain idea of Britain as a moderate, tolerant country that did not allow political fakes and flakes to lead it off on mad ideological projects, a sentiment you may share.

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